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Hospital Waiting Lists

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services to what extent the number of patients awaiting admission to NHS hospitals has risen since March 1974.

National figures for March 1974 are not available. The number of patients on hospital in-patient waiting lists in all specialties in England increased between 31st December 1973 and 30th September 1976, the latest date for which national figures are available, as follows:

31st December 1973508,617
31st December 1974517,424
30th September 1975519,552
31st March 1976583,851
30th September 1976589,238
The figures for numbers on waiting lists at September 1976 are provisional.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services to what causes he ascribes the rise in the number of patients in England awaiting admission to NHS hospitals from 583,851 in March 1976 to 589.238 in September 1976.

The length of waiting lists and waiting times for admission to hospital is influenced by a number of interacting factors, including changes in the age structure of the population and in morbidity, the referral practice of general practitioners, consultants' clinical decisions, availability of resources, management efficiency and seasonal influence. The overall rate of growth in numbers of patients waiting for hospital admission is falling. In the six months to September 1976 it was less than 1 per cent.. This compares with a rise of over 12 per cent.

during the preceding six months. The number of cases awaiting urgent treatment fell in that period by 5½ per cent. reflecting an increase in discharges and new out-patient attendances in the first half of 1976.